The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is helping the U.S. Forest Service fight wildfires out west. A total of 17 Iowans have been deployed in the past month, working wildfires in California, Colorado, Idaho and Montana. With the extremely damaging and deadly fires in these states this year, the D-N-R’s state wildland fire supervisor Gail Kantak says it’s important that Iowa has resources to send.
Kantak says they’ll bring those skills back to Iowa, which helps improve Iowa’s fire programs. Firefighters would usually mingle a lot once they arrive at their campsite, but she says that’s been a challenge because of the pandemic.
At least 40 people have signed up this year to fight wildfires outside of Iowa. Kantak says the D-N-R trains the individuals, who range from local firefighters to conservation board members to college students. Currently, four Iowa firefighters along with an engine and a support vehicle are helping battle flames in Idaho, while one firefighter is assisting in California.